(Source: Pamela Danziger)

In this week’s Blog I want to share with you something interesting I ran into last week. This article is about the 5 senses that could save Bricks & Mortar retailing.

Daren Coleman of Wavelength Marketing: “I have racked my brain to think of a retailer that has managed to orchestrate all of the senses. Not one retail brand has cracked it.”

While brick-and-mortar retailers wring their hands about the sad state of affairs in physical retail, they may be overlooking the most powerful competitive weapon at their disposal and one that e-commerce retailers cannot replicate: their ability to engage shoppers’ human dimension through their five senses.

Shedding light on the power of multi-sensory engagement in retail are assistant professor Miralem Helmefalk and Bertil Hultén, Ph.D. at Linneaus University in Sweden.

In an article published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumers Services, they wrote,

“For retailers, a visually dominant store atmosphere should be designed more in the direction of a multi-sensory atmosphere in offering shoppers more appealing experiences of the retail setting.” They cite research that demonstrates “a positive effect of multi-sensory congruent cues on shoppers’ emotions, through valence and purchase behavior, through time spent in the store and purchase.”

Pamela: “In plain English, shoppers engaged through all five senses in the store spend more time there and are more likely to make purchases”.

“The key is to build multi-sensory experiences in retail that trigger an emotional response before the conscious, cognitive and rational parts of the brain kicks in.

The visual sense is by far the one that retailers activate most frequently in terms of design, color, style and lighting.
But it may still be used ineffectively if the visual cues and clues in the store are not tuned to the ones that will engage the customers most effectively.

Photographer: Charles Mostoller/Bloomberg
© 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP

The tactile experience of shopping–to touch, feel and try on–is a tremendous draw for customers.
About 50% of consumers are turned off to online shopping because they can’t do that. And it certainly contributes to a large number of returns e-commerce retailers face.

Further, the more people touch products while shopping the more likely they are to buy and spend more money when doing it. The psychology behind it is called the “endowment effect,” whereby people value things more that they own and touching a product in the store tends to make them feel that sense of ownership.

Not only that but touching something can activate other senses in the shopping experience.

(Zoomers experience store the Netherlands)

“Smell is the only sense that has a direct line to your brain’s limbic system. That’s important because the limbic system deals with long-term memory and emotion. Brands rely on memories associated with an emotion we feel and this is why scent is so significant when you build brand experiences.”

“If you want customers to become endeared to your store, you have to give them something they can connect with to remember. The scent gives customers this connection.”

(Mall of the Netherlands; New Jamin store)


The right music in-store also influences memory, emotion and movement.

“One study identified how ‘pulse and tonality’ of music activates wide networks in the brain, including the limbic system tied to memory and emotion.”

For retailers to use sonic branding effectively they need to think beyond random soundtracks chosen by the store manager in the morning and create a symphony of sound that captures the heart and soul of the brand.

The power of analog connection in a digital world

“Digital doesn’t address our emotional needs. Digital meets our more rational needs—it’s faster and easier and lets us keep more control—but as human beings we need our emotional beings satisfied, and obviously that need isn’t being met by our digital experiences. Therefore, in order to balance that, we’re seeking the analog more than ever,”

Put more emotion in your store and messages.
More customers choice.
Delight and entertain.
Discover stuff.
Share stuff.
Take the analytical out.
Bring back the fun.

Make your store, pop-up, event the best place
to meet & greet, to listen & learn, to touch, to shop.

Let retailLAB inspire you!

Let’s talk ONEonONE and look at new and profitable ways to create more uniqueness and improve on the shopping experience to get in touch with ever-changing mood- and mindset of a reluctant customer.
Sharing Experience and First impressions. Talking business, based on Adding Value from an Inspiring and Engaging perspective.